March 13, 2004
Sebastopol rancher Bernard "Bud" Nahmens considered himself a practical conservationist, carefully nurturing and protecting family farmland that was home to an endangered wildflower called the Sebastopol Meadowfoam.
Nahmens altered his farming practices to protect the wildflower and preserved his land by selling his development rights to the Sonoma County Agriculture Preservation and Open Space District. Friends and family noted his philosophy was to leave the land better than he found it.
A native and lifelong resident of Sonoma County, Nahmens died Wednesday at a Santa Rosa hospital following a seven-month battle with cancer. He was 72.
A 1949 graduate of Analy High School, Nahmens never strayed far from where he was born, closely linked to the land and a rural way of life.
"Bud's goal was to preserve the land. He always felt farmers were the best stewards of the land in Sonoma County," said his wife, Janet Nahmens of Sebastopol.
In 1988, Nahmens was honored by the Nature Conservancy for the restoration work he did along Blucher Creek, which bordered his property.
A second-generation Sonoma County rancher, Nahmens was the son of the late George and Tita Nahmens, German immigrants who came to Sonoma County from the Isle of Fohr in the 1920s. They started a dairy and chicken ranch on Canfield Road.
Bud Nahmens took over the family dairy operation from his parents in 1962 and ran dairy cows until he retired in 1986. He then raised beef cattle on the ranch and in 1994 with his wife started the "Pick-A-Lily Gardens." The Nahmens raise 700 varieties of field-grown day lilies, selling plants to gardeners and other lily hobbyists through the Sonoma County Farm Trails map.
Nahmens, a rugged guy who held a strong work ethic, easily made the transition from cattle ranching to lily farming.
"He was a farmer first and foremost," said his wife.
Starla Nahmens of Sebastopol said her father was supportive of his family, going to great lengths to help them in their endeavors. She remembers that he was always ready to hitch the trailer and haul her horses to shows somewhere.
As a 4-H club member, Starla Nahmens started a sheep project, bringing the woolly foragers onto the family cattle ranch for the first time. As a dedicated cattleman, Nahmens wasn't thrilled to have sheep on his ranch. But he swallowed his cattleman's pride and opened the gates to let them come, pitching in to transport them to fairs.
Nahmens was a man of many interests. He was fascinated by airplanes and aviation, a passion kindled during his days as an airplane mechanic with the Air Force during the Korean War. He loved history, voraciously reading any book he could find on World War II.
He served on the Vernal Pool Task Force and was a member of Sonoma County Farm Bureau.
In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by another daughter, Venise Nahmens of Santa Rosa, and his stepdaughter, Celia Slater of Sebastopol.
Services are at 11 a.m. on Monday at Parent-Sorensen Mortuary in Sebastopol.
Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday at the mortuary.
F. George Elliot
F. George Elliot had a reputation for rigor among the student teachers he helped prepare at Sonoma State University.
"They knew if they could please him, they could make it anywhere," said Professor Martha Ruddell, who worked with Elliott for more than a decade.
Elliott, who retired in 1992 after 24 years at the university, died Sunday at a Santa Rosa care facility. He was 77.
Elliott taught and served many years as a supervisor for student teachers as they spent the required semester teaching alongside a regular instructor in public school classrooms.
Ruddell estimated that at one time half the teachers in Santa Rosa's middle and high schools either had been student teachers under Elliott or had been the veterans who monitored his rookies in their classrooms.
While Elliott could be a demanding supervisor, he still helped many of his students find jobs by touting their abilities to the school administrators he knew, Ruddell said.
Born on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Elliott graduated from the University of British Columbia, received a master's degree at CSU Long Beach, and obtained a doctorate at UCLA.
Before arriving at Sonoma State in 1968, he had worked as a school teacher for eight years in Canada and one year in Paris. He later served as vice principal of the Royal Canadian Air Force Dependents' School in Baden-Solingen, Germany.
Never marrying, he loved to travel, including a visit to Australia and extended train trips across Canada and South Africa.
After retirement he volunteered about eight years at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Santa Rosa.
He provided funds to help in the completion of the education school's George Elliott Conference Room. He recently donated portions of his art collection to be placed there.
At his request there will be no services. Memorial contributions may be made to the George Elliott Scholarships, which are overseen by the SSU Academic Foundations, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park, 94928-3609.
If there was one word to describe Bernice Crane, it was "curious."
She moved from one pursuit to the next throughout her life, driven by her fearless drive to try new things. She wasn't just a light dabbler but a doer, parlaying an interest in gardening into a nursery business, and a fondness for cooking into a small catering venture.
Crane, a North Coast resident since 1968, died Tuesday at a Santa Rosa hospital of ALS, or Lou-Gehrig's Disease. She was 83.
"The key to mom was curiosity. She always wanted to know how things worked," said her daughter Diana Stratton.
She was an intellectual, an avid reader who devoured the classics and classical music and a writer of poetry inspired by her love of nature and of her own garden.
"She'd look out of her house and see something catch her eye -- how the oak trees were emerging with little leaves -- and she'd write beautiful poetry about it," Stratton said.
A Berkeley native raised in Pleasanton, Crane married not long after graduating from the Highland School of Nursing in Oakland in 1945. She worked briefly as a school nurse in the Gold Country before having children.
When her husband was transferred to Casablanca, Morocco, she was inspired by the beauty of the Moorish architecture and began to paint and sketch. Later, while living in Colorado, she took up mosaic work and was commissioned by a local church to do two large pieces.
After divorcing in 1959, she found herself a single mother with two young children. She moved to California and returned to nursing, working both for a private physician and at Stanford University Hospital. She eventually married pharmacist Larry Crane (who died in 1976) and the couple, seeking to escape the congestion, eventually bought land off Mark West Springs Road in 1968.
Crane, who had always loved growing flowers, took up gardening seriously and by 1973 she purchased Larkfield Nursery.
"Gardening is a whole different thing from running a nursery, but like a lot of other things in her life, when she wanted to do something she figured out how to do it," Stratton said.
Crane beautified the grounds with Japanese maples and a koi pond. After selling the business in 1979 she did community service, cooking meals for AIDS patients through Face to Face and helping at a training center for young adults with developmental disabilities.
For a short time she even did catering, and baked quiches for a Coddingtown coffee house.
In 1989, Crane built a home in Willits and was a volunteer at Howard Memorial Hospital. She moved back to Sonoma County in 1999 after she was diagnosed with ALS.
"She had a great spirit about her," her daughter said. "She never complained. She just accepted the hand she was dealt."
In addition to her daughter, she is survived by her son, Cliff Johnston, and granddaughters Jessica and Julie Johnston of West Lafayette, Ind.; her grandson Robbie Stratton of Fair Oaks, and her sister Ruth Mendes of Scottsdale, Ariz.
A memorial service and reception will be held at 2 p.m. April 23 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Windsor. The family suggests contributions to the ALS Association, 27001 Agoura Road, Suite 150, Calabasas Hills, Ca. 91301.
March 12, 2004
Spencer Flournoy, a conservative conscience in the heart of liberal Sonoma County, died Thursday of complications from heart surgery. He was 80.
Flournoy, the president and founder of the Sonoma County Taxpayers' Association, was an outspoken and articulate opponent of what he saw as government waste and unneeded tax increases.
He became a public figure from his many appearances before city and county agencies preaching the gospel of fiscal responsibility and individual accountability.
"He was a good-government guy and a small-government guy. He was an individual-liberty and individual-responsibility guy," said his son Charles Flournoy of Oklahoma City, Okla. "He found great political opponents up here in Sonoma County, and I think he loved it."
Flournoy, a native of Connecticut, graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1944 with a degree in mechanical engineering. After graduation, he enlisted in the Navy and saw active duty aboard an aircraft carrier. He met his future wife, Shirley Flournoy, while stationed at Twenty Nine Palms in Southern California.
After his discharge, Flournoy worked in construction, rising to project manager and responsibility for multimillion-dollar projects all over the world, including Spain and Israel.
He returned to Southern California in the late 1960s, where he became president of Occidental Engineering Co., with more than $400 million in contracts with the Soviet Union. In 1981 he became vice president of the parent company, Occidental Petroleum Corp. in Los Angeles, from which he retired in 1982.
The Flournoys moved to Sonoma County in 1983, to care for his wife's elderly mother. He joined old friend Ray Mattison to form Mattison-Flournoy, Inc., a Santa Rosa business consulting company.
In 1987, Gov. George Deukmejian appointed him to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. He was named chairman of the board in 1992.
He also served on the boards of the Sonoma County Alliance, the Sonoma County World Affairs Council, the Luther Burbank Center and the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa.
He is survived by his wife, Shirley Flournoy of Santa Rosa; and his children, Charles Flournoy of Oklahoma City, Okla., Barbara Flournoy and Richard Flournoy of Santa Rosa, and James Flournoy of Denver. He also leaves one great-grandchild and his brother, John Flournoy of Anchorage, Alaska.
Services will be scheduled at a later date.
Carl G. "Scottie" Holmes, a World War II veteran and lifelong Santa Rosan, died in his sleep March 6 at his home in Santa Rosa. He was 76.
Born dangerously premature on July 6, 1927, in San Diego, Holmes weighed barely 21/2 pounds. Almost immediately following his birth, his family moved north to Santa Rosa where they eventually bought some land off Los Alamos Road.
Holmes attended Alpine Elementary School and was the only member of his eighth-grade graduating class. As a 16-year-old student at Santa Rosa High School, Holmes was inspired to join the U.S. Merchant Marine by the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
Although his mother, Opal Holmes, disapproved, Holmes shipped out in 1944 and spent the next 50 years as a mariner.
Holmes spent the majority of his sea time during World War II in the Pacific Theater, often in harm's way getting supplies to Allied servicemen, according to his son, Scott Holmes.
After the close of the war, Holmes married his girlfriend, Mary Lou, whom he met in an Oakland restaurant.
In the early 1970s, while still working at sea, Holmes' crew was credited with saving 19 servicemen stranded at sea during a typhoon. After a three-day search, the seamen were found floating on a life raft, and, rocking in 30-foot waves, were brought aboard Holmes' vessel.
He later received the U.S. Steamship Award and commendations from then-President Richard Nixon and then-Gov. Ronald Reagan.
But his fondest memory of the incident might have been about five years later, while Holmes was at an educational conference in Baltimore, according to Scott Holmes.
"He was riding the elevator and the door opened and this guy got on and says, 'Are you Captain Holmes?'" Scott Holmes said. "And the guy says: 'You don't recognize me, but I was one of the 19 guys you rescued. I wouldn't be riding this elevator if it weren't for you -- I owe the rest of my life to you.'"
Holmes was a member of the Masters, Mates & Pilots Union, the Sailors Union of the Pacific, and an active member of the American Merchant Marine Veterans North Bay Chapter. He was also a member of the Santa Rosa Burbank Lodge #57, Santa Rosa Scottish Rite Bodies, Aahmes Temple and many other service clubs.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Mary Lou Holmes; his son, Scott Holmes of Santa Rosa; his daughter, Gail Holmes Theiller of Santa Rosa; and six grandchildren.
Friends are invited to attend the Masonic Memorial Services at 1 p.m. today at Daniels Chapel of the Roses, 1225 Sonoma Ave., Santa Rosa. Inurnment will be private.
Memorial donations may be made to Shriners Hospital for Children, 2425 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento 95817, or a favorite charity.
March 10, 2004
Doris McIntyre, longtime office manager for hospitals and physicians who helped establish an employment agency for medical staff in Sonoma County, died Saturday in Santa Rosa. She was 82.
Born the only child of William and Mary Hilton in Loveland, Colo., she rode the train to Los Angeles when she was 19 to attend Woodbury Business College.
After graduation, she worked for the U.S. Office of Censorship, which monitored communications during World War II.
She met Scott McIntyre, a signalman in the Navy, during the war years and the two later married and raised three children together.
The McIntyres moved to Sonoma County in the mid-1950s, and Doris McIntyre began a long career involved with medical staffing in Sonoma County. After 57 years of marriage, Scott McIntyre died in December 2000 at age of 82.
Doris McIntyre is survived by three children, Thomas McIntyre of Santa Rosa, Jean Ann Lewandowski of Laporte, Minn., and Eric McIntyre of Covington, La., and three grandchildren.
A funeral service will be at 9:30 a.m. today at Eggen & Lance Mortuary, 1540 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, followed by interment at Santa Rosa Memorial Park.
George Brand, who was editor of a daily newspaper in San Luis Obispo for 20 years and taught journalism at two colleges, has died. He was 80.
Brand died Monday after battling cancer, the Tribune of San Luis Obispo reported.
Born in 1923, Brand graduated from Santa Rosa High School and enlisted in the Merchant Marines in 1942.
He attended Occidental College, studying political science and then spent two years in Korea with the Marine Corps.
Brand was editor of the Telegram-Tribune, which later became the Tribune, from 1963 to 1983.
"He's an icon in local journalism," said George Ramos, chairman of the journalism department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where Brand taught part time for 36 years. "There are few people who fit that category."
Brand's editorials, which often called for preserving land rather than developing it, angered some business owners.
One of the most significant news events during Brand's tenure at the newspaper was the proposed Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.
Brand opposed the project after it was discovered that an fault line ran nearby.
Brand supported the Mission Plaza in downtown San Luis Obispo.
He championed the project even though it cost the newspaper advertising dollars and goodwill among downtown merchants.
Upon leaving the Tribune, Brand said, "For 20 years the Telegram-Tribune took negative editorial positions on proposals that would have an adverse effect on the Central Coast environment. The positions were negative, the results positive."
Besides his newspaper work, Brand spent six months as the director of information with the Department of Health, Education and Welfare under the Nixon administration in 1969.
He continued to teach at Cal Poly and Cuesta College after he retired.
He is survived by his wife, Dolores; two daughters, Kathleen Brand of Monrovia and Elizabeth Beal of Santa Rosa; and seven grandchildren.
George Pake, a National Medal of Science winner, university provost and founder of a California research center that played a key role in the development of computer technology, has died.
Pake died last Thursday of heart failure at his home in Tucson, Ariz., according to officials at Washington University, where Pake taught and served as provost. He was 79.
Pake received the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest science honor, from President Ronald Reagan in 1987.
The Ohio native became an assistant professor at Washington University after graduating from Harvard in 1948. In his first year at the university he published an article on nuclear magnetic resonance, which is now known as magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI.
Pace's article was cited hundreds of times in other scientists' work on MRI, the university said.
Pake was chairman of Washington University's physics department from 1952 to 1956. After six years at Stanford, he returned to Washington University, serving as provost from 1962 to 1970.
Pake left St. Louis in 1970 to become the first chief researcher at Xerox Corp.'s Palo Alto Research Center in Palo Alto.
The center played a major role in developing the first personal computer, the laser printer, e-mail and other computer technology.
Pake retired as Xerox group vice president in 1986 to become director of the Institute for Research on Learning in Palo Alto. He was named director emeritus in 1991.
Survivors include Pake's wife, Marjorie; three sons; a daughter; and two grandchildren.
March 9, 2004
Petaluma resident Robert Harry Ayers, who loved driving a bus during his career and who also loved the outdoors, died Wednesday at a local hospital, surrounded by family and friends. He was 77 and had suffered a heart attack.
Ayers was a native of San Francisco. He met his wife, Dolores, at a high school party. The teenage sweethearts were married for 59 years.
From San Francisco they moved to Fairfax, where they raised their three children.
Ayers drove transit and charter buses for years, working for Greyhound Lines and then Golden Gate Transit. He retired at age 55 and enjoyed the next 22 years, filling them with family, travel and time outside.
"Anything outdoors. He was an outdoor person. He loved to go abalone diving and fishing," Dolores Ayers said.
After their children were grown, the couple moved to Petaluma, where they have lived for 30 years. They had five acres, including a garden and room to raise animals, including sheep.
Ayers enjoyed his family and his grand- and great-grandchildren. "He was very, very loved," his wife said.
Ayers was a member of the American Legion Post 21 in Santa Rosa.
In retirement, he also volunteered for Hospice of Petaluma, delivering items for the nonprofit agency's thrift shop, has wife said.
His two sons preceded him in death.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Georgia Kolthoff of Tiburon; brother, Merv Ayers of Petaluma; four granddaughters; and six great-grandchildren.
At his request, no services will be held. Memorial contributions may be made to a favorite charity.
Frances Dee, 94
Frances Dee, a dark-haired beauty who co-starred in the 1930s and '40s with Maurice Chevalier, Gary Cooper, Ronald Colman and her husband, Joel McCrea, has died at 94.
Dee died Saturday at a hospital in Norwalk, Conn., her son Peter McCrea said Monday. The actress had suffered a stroke three weeks ago after spending the winter with her son at his home in Connecticut.
Dee achieved stardom in 1930 opposite Chevalier in one of the first talkie musicals, "The Playboy of Paris." Her beauty earned her leading roles in comedies and dramas, notably in 1931's "An American Tragedy" as Sondra Finchley.
Her credits also included "Souls at Sea" with Cooper and George Raft, "Little Women," starring Katharine Hepburn, "If I Were King" with Colman, and "Of Human Bondage," in which she played Leslie Howard's sweetheart.
In 1933, Dee appeared with McCrea in "The Silver Cord." They married that year. The McCreas bought a large ranch northwest of Los Angeles, and as the metropolitan area expanded, they became among the richest landowners in California.